Resources and support available for survivors of sexual assault and misconduct – Penn State News

Resources and support available for survivors of sexual assault and misconduct – Penn State News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of Penn State’s efforts to create an environment focused on safety, reporting and accountability, the University offers a variety of resources and services for students and employees to learn about consent, seek care and assistance, and make a report of sexual assault and misconduct.

Penn State encourages individuals who have been victims of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct to make a report by contacting the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response or the University’s Title IX coordinator. The Gender Equity Center also is available to provide students with confidential support and advice about reporting options.

“We are committed to providing survivors of sexual assault with compassionate care, assistance and resources,” said Suzanne Adair, associate vice president for affirmative action. “If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault or harassment, no matter the circumstances, it is never your fault — please reach out to seek care, discuss your options, and to make a report to the University or law enforcement.”

Understanding the importance of consent and what constitutes sexual assault

Whether an individual chooses to or not to have sex is a valid and personal decision. In every sexual encounter, consent must be informed, freely given and mutual. If a person does not give consent, such as in any of the below examples, and another party continues with a sexual encounter, this is sexual assault.

— Consent is affirmative and ongoing: If a person is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol or is unconscious, they cannot consent.

— Consent can be either verbal or nonverbal, but it must be clearly given: If you’re unsure if someone has given consent, then stop immediately. Make sure you clearly receive and confirm the other party’s consent before initiating or continuing.

— Not saying “no” doesn’t mean “yes”: If a person simply doesn’t say “no,” this is not consent. If a person has to be pressured or convinced into giving consent, it is not truly consent; it is coercion.

— Individuals can change their mind: If a person says “yes” but later changes their mind, they are no longer giving consent. You can consent initially and then decide to stop; everyone has the right to change their mind and withdraw consent.

Options and steps to take following sexual assault

The steps you take after a sexual assault are very personal and do not have to mirror those of others; support is available when you are ready. If at any time you don’t know where to turn for support, staff in the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response can assist you.

If you have been sexually assaulted, consider the following:

— Know it was not your fault. No matter what you were doing, what you were wearing, or if you were drinking, a person is never at fault for being sexually assaulted.

— Go to a safe place as soon as you can; in an emergency, call 911.

— Try to preserve all physical evidence and save any text messages, emails or photos; do not bathe or use the bathroom.

— Contact …….